Of the 150 Ohio State University students chosen for the Sesquicentennial Student Scholar Leadership Program, thirteen are currently enrolled in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Learn more about them below:
Chris Baird - Agricultural Systems Management
I’m part of the fourth generation in my family to attend Ohio State and to pursue a degree in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I knew the university could provide me with unparalleled knowledge, a plethora of opportunities and a network that would help me grow and succeed in this ever-changing world.
My love for Ohio State began with athletics and evolved into a passion for learning, service and tradition—some of the core values at this university. My work ethic is a result of the many years I’ve spent on my family’s farm. I’m involved in multiple organizations, including the Crops and Soils Club and the Agricultural Systems Management Club, and I’m the service co-chair of the sophomore class honorary, Romophos, which raises money for Community Refugee and Immigration Services. I’ve also participated in Buck-I-SERV and studied human impacts on the natural environment in Australia.
Karaline Boso - Animal Sciences
I want be involved in something great, like being an ambassador for Ohio State, because I hope to be a mentor to my classmates and to lead by example by helping those in need.
Getting a quality education is the beginning of a quality life, and that’s why I chose to become a Buckeye. The education I’m receiving at Ohio State will allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I look forward to becoming involved in organizations geared toward animal sciences. Currently, I volunteer at a shelter, and I plan to find other animal programs to work with, not only to make a difference but to expand my experience and help my future career.
I’m not just growing academically; I’m also learning lessons that will stick with me for life. My determination keeps me going. No matter what life may throw at me, I am willing to take it on.
Mary Buehler - Agribusiness and Applied Economics
My initial apprehension as a first-generation college student from rural Ohio was quickly eased when I arrived on campus and was welcomed into the Buckeye community. Ohio State has a way of uniting people from all over the world.
As an agricultural major, I am proud of Ohio State’s land-grant roots and excited about how the university continues to cultivate growth and diversity. The sesquicentennial marks a milestone of increased access and inclusion, of a culture that is welcoming to all and working for the betterment of everyone.
My interest in connecting individuals to resources within the agricultural industry drives my focus academically. I would be thrilled to tie my passion for agriculture with efforts to promote the Buckeye community by discussing work being done at Ohio State to fight food insecurity and to create a more sustainable tomorrow. My investment of time and talent shows my commitment to growing this university.
Melena Dillingham - M.S. Agricultural and Extension Education
My first-grade teacher wrote on my report card that I was “the mother earth social secretary” of the class. To me, interacting with others has always been what gives experiences their vibrancy.
Having worked as an elementary music teacher, I know how to encourage engagement. I’m enthusiastic and enjoy getting people excited about the things I care about.
When I am not working or attending classes at Ohio State, I usually can be found with my husband playing music or volunteering with Columbus Humane, including as foster parents to homeless animals.
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial reassures me that my institution is respected and established. The university prides itself on always being at the forefront of academic progress and innovation. Growth can put stress on an infrastructure that isn’t properly governed, so to carry that reputation for 150 years is evidence of a firm foundation and solid moral compass.
Sarah Doner - Animal Sciences
I learned from my cousins who attended Ohio State about the variety of opportunities at the university. I’m now the fifth person in my family to become a Buckeye, and I won’t be the last.
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial means 150 years of continuing such family traditions. I’ve met many alumni who treated me as if I were a member of their own family, and I want to help pass on this wonderful sentiment to as many future generations as I can.
Among the organizations I’m involved with on the Wooster campus is Miss Agriculture USA, which promotes the inclusion of women in the field. I’m an alum of Future Farmers of America and 4-H. I’ve also created a livestock show for those with disabilities so they can work with animals, and I make cat and dog toys to donate to shelters and collect pet food to donate to Meals-on-Wheels.
Derek Goodman - Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Growing up in a small town, I had limited contact with people from diverse cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles. Ohio State has opened doors for me to explore all of those facets.
I was raised in a family that appreciates agriculture and makes it a part of daily life. The university’s sesquicentennial gives me the opportunity to continue my education as an agricultural engineering major with resources like no other and a temporary home during some of the most crucial years of my life.
I’m involved in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, where I’ve served as a council representative and vice president, and Cru, a Christian organization on campus in which I serve as Bible study leader. I am a member of the Quarter Scale Tractor Team, where I experience direct application of engineering principles. I also volunteer at My Family Pantry on the west side of Columbus.
Mackenzie Hannum - Food Science and Technology
I represent Ohio State in three ways, each of which embodies an aspect of my experience that will allow me to be a great ambassador and give back to a university that has given so much to me and my family.
As a Buckeye I apply the life lessons I learned in my undergraduate years, whether it was how to give a compelling speech or how to execute a successful event. As an alumna, I make an effort to wear something Ohio State–related when traveling so I can find fellow Buckeyes (100 percent success rate!).
Recently, I have embraced my role as a doctoral student in one of the most elite food science programs in the nation. I was skeptical if I was suited for research, but the mentorship within our department established an environment that fostered my creativity. I study why people like the food they do—something everyone can relate to.
Alexis Homik - Environment, Economy, Development & Sustainability
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial means knowing that there’s common ground where everyone wants to represent what being a Buckeye is. It’s like joining a club or a team. People want to bring their goals and personalities to the table, and with that comes opportunity and trust. The university wants to inspire our and future generations. It wants to see what we have to say.
Throughout my life, I’ve strived to produce art in multiple forms. From gymnastics to visual arts, being creative brings out the best in me. I do whatever I can to raise awareness about issues that I care about and engage others. With that comes intuition. My perspectives have shifted and strengthened based on the connections I’ve made and the knowledge I’ve gained during my time at Ohio State. The spirit and opportunities here make me believe I can make the world a better place.
Emily Kanney - Food Science and Technology
I grew up in a town that wasn’t diverse. However, through books and social media I gained exposure to diversity, and when I came to Ohio State I was blown away. The university is a place where different perspectives can come together to create solutions to problems.
My motto is “If you’re not going to be excited by something, why bother?” I’m delighted to tell everyone that I go to Ohio State and what majoring in food science means. (No, Aunt Marge, I’m not going to be a chef.)
I’m also proud of being a resource for my high school agriculture teacher. For a lot of students where I come from, it seems like the only path to a successful career is working the third shift at a factory seven days a week. I’m excited to be able to tell them about the opportunities and the affordability of Ohio State.
Courtney Krieger - Agribusiness
I am proud to be attending one of the top agricultural schools in the nation. I knew that I would be welcomed and treated with respect by professors and students, allowing me to make a smooth transition from high school and life on the farm to the Agricultural Technical Institute and eventually main campus. My decision to become a Buckeye will benefit me well into the future.
I have had years of experience working with people through employment and while serving as the Fulton County Dairy Ambassador. I’m able to work while attending classes, and I love my job at an elementary school. The kids’ excitement and joy when I walk into the classroom makes it worth every second of my time. I’m also proud of my experiences as a business owner. I’m an independent consultant for a skin care company and also a partner in our family dog-breeding business.
Xamarie Ruiz - Animal Sciences
As a sesquicentennial ambassador I hope to represent the Buckeyes and benefit others with my openness to diverse ideas and individuals, my care for my peers and all those in my community, and my confidence in myself and the community. By “confidence” I mean embracing my talents, achievements and capabilities to avoid doubt in myself, which is key if I wish to best serve others.
So far in my time at Ohio State I have been involved in the Pre-veterinary Medical Association; Shades of Animal Science, of which I am the community science chair; the Animal Welfare and Behavior Club and Partnering Up with Pets. I also participated in the 2018 Buckeye Royal showmanship contest, where I spent two weeks breaking a young Jersey heifer. I release my creativity by painting, and outside of campus I volunteer at the Franklin County Dog Shelter, where I walk dogs and assist in their behavioral training.
Hunter Sandwisch - Agribusiness
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in agriculture for my career, so Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute was the place for me to continue my education.
I take pride in my leadership role as a student ambassador at the ATI. I try to learn from my peers as well as administrators because I know the lessons I learn will help me later in life.
I’m also involved in clubs that allow me to broaden my knowledge about agriculture. They include Collegiate FFA, Community Council and Agronomy Club. I’m vice president of the Poultry Club, and I enjoy volunteering to help make my county fair enjoyable for all.
In all my activities I am team-oriented because I believe that everyone has strengths to share with others. I try to lead by example, accommodating others’ opinions while voicing my own, and I’m open-minded to ideas that may be better than mine.
Aaron Smith - Agronomy
As a child with a rural heart in an urban school system, I joined 4-H and met countless friends who became like family and had experiences that led to leadership and educational opportunities. When I decided to pursue a degree in agricultural sciences, Ohio State was the only option I considered because of the university’s role as a land-grant institution and its ties to 4-H.
I attend the Agricultural Technical Institute, where I am vice president of the Agronomy Club and social media chair of the Poultry Club. As a member of the Dairy Club, I frequently attend Community Council and Collegiate FFA meetings. I also plan to become involved in our LGBTQ+ support group. On top of all this, I am a resident advisor and often host programs or attend events.
When I am not on campus, I enjoy going home to work on my family farm and volunteer at 4-H events.